Covid 19 coronavirus: Travellers from Brisbane urged to monitor health after green zone breach

People arriving in New Zealand from Brisbane are being asked to monitor their health for the next 14 days, after a reported green zone breach at Brisbane Airport.

The reported incident was in the Hudson Cafe where two people from a red zone country were at the cafe at the same time as green zone passengers.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said the risk was low.

New Zealand health officials understand the two red zone passengers returned negative Covid-19 tests before they departed their home country.

Queensland Health told the ministry the passengers had been wearing masks, maintained distancing measures and were not symptomatic, the ministry said.

A second test from swabs taken yesterday returned a weak positive for one test and a negative for the other.

The three flights affected are NZ202 from Brisbane to Christchurch yesterday, NZ146 which landed in Auckland and Qantas flight 135 which arrived in Christchurch.

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Passengers on all three flights had been informed of the potential breach and given advice about monitoring their health for the next two weeks, the ministry said.

In a statement, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) said the breach was “due to human error”.

“At approximately 9:30am, two transit passengers arrived on a ‘red’ flight from Port Moresby and proceeded through screening to transit as per normal process.

“An initial review of CCTV indicates that the red-zone passengers were allowed into the green zone at 9:55am, spending just under two hours there before they were found by Brisbane Airport staff and returned to the red zone.

Red passengers in green zone area for almost two hours

“The passengers were seated at a retail outlet within the green zone until approximately 11.20am.”

The passengers had also visited the bathroom and went into another retail store before they were found by airport staff and returned to the red zone area of the terminal.

Authorities they were in the green zone for just under two hours.

BAC said all workers and passengers in the green area were wearing PPE and all areas of interest have since been thoroughly cleaned.

There were approximately 390 passengers on the flights to New Zealand, with only a handful believed to be in the same area as the red zone passengers at the same time, BAC said.

At this stage, it is believed only a handful of passengers were in the vicinity of the two passengers at any one time.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said the two passengers posed a low risk to others.

“While at the airport, they wore masks and socially distanced and neither has reported symptoms,” Young said.

“They were in the wrong zone through no fault of their own and we appreciate their patience and cooperation while we rule them out as cases.

“We’re also grateful for the prompt action by Brisbane Airport staff once the mistake was identified.”

Papua New Guinea was last week deemed a very high risk country by the New Zealand government, meaning only citizens and their immediate family can return here.

additional reporting: RNZ

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